Mayor: Israel to confiscate 25 acres of Bethlehem land

12:00 Dec 16 2015 Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, Beit Jala

Mayor: Israel to confiscate 25 acres of Bethlehem land Mayor: Israel to confiscate 25 acres of Bethlehem land
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces plan to go ahead with the confiscation of 102 dunams (25 acres) of land in the Bethlehem district, the Mayor of Bethlehem told Ma'an.

Vera Baboun said Israeli forces plan to confiscate lands in Bethlehem city as well as neighoring Beit Sahour and Beit Jala, with the intention of using the land for nearby illegal Israeli settlements.

Baboun said the three major Bethlehem district cities for more than 10 years have been receiving letters from Israeli authorities ordering the confiscation of the land for the construction of the separation wall. The district has fought the orders in the past, however now the orders cite security threats as the reason for confiscation.

Israel began building the separation wall with concrete walls, fences and barbed-wire inside the occupied West Bank in 2002 at the height of the second Palestinian Intifada, claiming the barrier was crucial for security.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that construction of the barrier was illegal and, like the UN General Assembly, demanded that it be dismantled.

Palestinians, who refer to its as the "apartheid wall," say the barrier is a land grab, pointing out that when complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the West Bank.

The wall has already completely cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.

The Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem says the wall will annex around 13 percent of the total area of the West Bank.

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